Ever seen something take place and say, yep that is what was supposed to happen? Ever found yourself in a situation and you just knew what had to be done? Have you ever been given a name in advance and then at the moment you needed were able to use it? It happened twice to and for me. Once in my family and once when I was called to step up and be president of a homeowners association for a community of 10,000+ people. It both cases, God spoke to me in a private moment when I was asking Him for wisdom because He called me to it and I knew since He did, He would get me through it! When I had to find a new Director for the association, He gave me the name Rich. When my son was born, He gave me the name Isaac. God will provide! He prepares in advance the good work He has for us to accomplish. He has a plan that is so much bigger and so much better than anything we could have ever done in or of our own strength! Some times you need that little nudge of confirmation. In the case of Rich, I received a letter (which I still keep and prior to leaving the board made copies and shared with the board members) from a member of the community thanking me for hiring Rich and what a great decision that was for the community.
This morning’s reading starts with a name, a name given by an angel…The nudge came when they were dedicating Jesus in the Temple.
21A week later, when the time came for the baby to be circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
22The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23as it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.” 24They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord. 25At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s promised Messiah. 27Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God: 29“Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. 30With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.” 33The child’s father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” 36-37There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying. 38That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.
The Return to Nazareth
39When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. 40The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God’s blessings were upon him. –Luke 2:21-40
So if we can just come together a one body trusting in believing what God says in faith, not worrying, without fear, just believing, it is amazing what God can do in and through our lives. When we put Him first, things align. When we focus on His purpose and His plans, He is able to work in those situations and accomplish His will. For this to happen requires unity in the body! We have different backgrounds and different experiences, but when we put God first we can come together operating as the body in unity to do incredible things for the glory of God! Don’t be impatient, but rather be loving, be humble, be gentle, and be patient! Let’s shine love through our tolerance of one another! Don’t put a chip on your shoulder that keeps you from being everything that God is calling you to become! It’s not because you are so good, but because God is!
1I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all. 7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8As the scripture says,
“When he went up to the very heights, he took many captives with him; he gave gifts to people.”
9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. 14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love. –Ephesians 4:1-16
So let’s grow together! Let’s allow the love of God to flow through us knitting us together into the body He created. That we would come together and work together as a single body for the glory of God and allow Him to shine through us into the world around us. Let’s grow in love! Let’s put all our confidence in the Lord and allow His will and His plans and His love to be evident and working in and through each of us!
49Remember your promise to me, your servant; it has given me hope.
50Even in my suffering I was comforted because your promise gave me life.
51The proud are always scornful of me, but I have not departed from your law.
52I remember your judgments of long ago, and they bring me comfort, O Lord.
53When I see the wicked breaking your law, I am filled with anger.
54During my brief earthly life I compose songs about your commands.
55In the night I remember you, Lord, and I think about your law.
56I find my happiness in obeying your commands.